Chrysemys picta (Painted turtle) Demographic Patterns in Rural vs. Urban Ponds: An Ecological Research as Education Network (EREN) project

Thumbnail Image
Issue Date
Hilling, Thomas
Busch, Allison
DeSantis, Grace
painted turtles , sex ratio , age distribution , demography , urbanization gradient , Ecological Research as Education Network (EREN)
Research suggests that turtle populations are declining and gender ratios are skewed as a result of urbanization. In particular, most turtle populations appear male-skewed where anthropogenic disturbance has occurred. In summer/fall 2015, we compared demographic trends in the painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) in both rural and urban pond settings near Plattsburgh, NY. An urban golf course pond complex (Plattsburgh, NY) was compared to a rural pond in Point au Roche Park, just north of Plattsburgh, NY. Prior studies (2013-14) focused on a rural pond, Krystal Lake quarry in Chazy. We performed capture-mark-recapture on turtles using hoop traps. Turtles were marked by filing a notch into the carapace scutes using a typical 3 letter system. Gender was determined from length of foreclaw and pre-cloacal tail measurements, and age by turtle carapace size. Program Mark was used to estimate population size (N) and other parameters. The N value was 1.23 X greater at the rural site when compared to the urban site. We found that the rural site contained about the same amount of adults and the urban and rural sites were female and male skewed, respectively. This information will help to inform developers, landowners, and biologists alike of the impact of urbanization (e.g., habitat loss, habitat split/fragmentation) on persistence of turtle species.
Student poster, Center for Earth and Environmental Science, SUNY Plattsburgh